‘The Year of San Sebastian’
Situated in Northern Spain, only a few kilometres away from the French border, the city of San Sebastian has been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2016 alongside Wroclaw in Poland. The title is unsurprising to those familiar with the Basque city given the number of cultural events hosted in San Sebastian each year.
The cultural programme designed for San Sebastian in 2016 pays tribute to both the essence of the city and the ways in which it represents a new European culture. Emphasis is placed on notions of cultural coexistence, innovation and participation on the one hand; and technology, industry and energy on the other. San Sebastian, therefore, fulfils the mission of embodying the cultural partnership uniting European countries around the development of ever more advanced and forward-looking societies.
Cultural projects taking place throughout the year – ranging from workshops and conferences to exhibitions and concerts – are tailored to reflect three pillars of culture in Europe: Peace, Life and Voices. As the organising principles of San Sebastian’s programme, these poles promote cultural dialogue, diversity and understanding. The message that the city wishes to deliver through the many cultural activities offered is one of unity.
San Sebastian has been chosen to represent the community-building essence of European culture, perhaps owing to the city’s efforts to put international spotlight on different forms of Spanish arts as means of uniting people.
The major cultural events organised in San Sebastian are dedicated to Spanish culture and its interaction with the rest of the world. The Heineken Jazzaldia Jazz Festival, in particular, is attended by travellers from all destinations, wishing to participate in Europe’s longest-standing celebration of jazz music. Likewise, the famous Zinemaldia Film Festival is held each September and is perhaps the city’s most important cultural event drawing huge names from both the Spanish and international film industries, this year celebrates the 64th anniversary of the festival.
In addition to its cultural offerings, San Sebastian and its surrounding area is home to a number of internationally celebrated restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Arzak and Mugaritz.
The 2016 European Capital of Culture presents its visitors not only with warmth and breath-taking coastal sceneries, but also with a truly welcoming atmosphere. With the Parador de Hondarribia and the Hotel Villa Soro only a few kilometres away, one can enjoy San Sebastian’s enriching cultural activities all the while staying in unique accommodation. 2016 is undoubtedly the year to visit San Sebastian; a city which, in promoting unity and dialogue, makes travellers feel at home in the heart of European culture, well-deserving of its title.
Photos provided by Turespaña